Voom Voom: Peng Peng

Voom Voom (Peter Kruder, Christian Prommer, and Roland Appel) distills techno, house, electro, soul, and disco into a buoyantly sweeping mix that finds its perfect hedonistic home in the club. The name's no accident either as the trio's tunes work up sleek cuts that are as insistent as they are undeniable. The group's debut Peng Peng gathers eleven tracks (all synchronized to a 125 BPM dance-floor tempo, by the way) onto compact disc. Eschewing predictable run-on grooves, the trio distinguishes the seventy-minute collection with imaginative touches and distinctive arrangements (check out “All I Need” which pans a soulful diva's “Love baby” cry over pizzicato plucks, a raunchy guitar riff, and a goose-stomping beat).

The slow-builder “Baby 3” proves the perfect opener, with Voom Voom stoking a percolating heat (though the talk-box vocal exhumes a little too vividly Peter Frampton's “Do You Feel Like We Do?”) that bodes well for the cuts that follow. “Roger” unfurls with a funky, string-laden chug, the propulsive “Bounce” escalates into a rocking electro-house slam capped by a sick vocodered hook and background female yelps, and the relentlessly clanging banger “Keep the Drums Out” spills acid over the dance floor. At times, the group's sound references others but does so fleetingly: “Best Friend,” for example, opens with a “Beat It” drum riff but quickly marks out its own soul-jazz territory before adding a Prince-styled falsetto to its handclapping, silken-string groove, while synths borrowed from Kraftwerk's “Trans-Europe Express” hover over the grinding sputter of “Logan” (inexplicably, though, the song's chord changes parallel Loverboy's dreaded “Turn Me Loose”). Though the material is strong throughout, “Sao Verought” might be the best thing here. The driving groove sparkles, to be sure, but it's the sublime Akufen-styled vocal weave between a robot and two “ooh”-ing and “ahh”-ing females that elevates it to tech-house nirvana. And did we mention the infectiously vibrant electro-house of “Oggi” (which borrows the Sufi vocal line from My Life In the Bush of Ghosts' “Regiment”)? Exceptional 'Intelligent Body Music' all around.

May 2006